I suppose there are many answers to this question.
Personally, I blog as an outlet for stress, because I want to talk, because I enjoy reading what others have to say and I enjoy the comments I receive on my own blog.
Because news items interest me and invoke a strong opinion in me, I blog about the good times and I blog about the bad times. There are many readers who still comment here from the day I first started blogging.
There are new readers and comments appearing all the time.
I have seen favourite blogs fade away and others grow from an acorn to an oak.
For me blogging is cathartic. I am nowhere near good enough to be a published writer but this little blog is my own world in which to write whatever I feel the need to and for the past four years that is exactly what I have done. Nobody is obliged to read it and if they do, they're certainly not obliged to comment but I have to say, comments are one of my favourite parts of blogging. It is good to hear others point of view and just the general interaction of funny, sad, happy, amusing and kind-hearted comments.
I have had many kind comments, many funny and amusing comments, many cheeky comments and the odd troll post (you know you've really arrived when you bring the trolls out of the ether). I've had emails of support, of questions, of genuine concern and of general friendly chatter.
After finding out and going through a particularly bad patch last year, a certain blogger (who shall remain nameless as he still has an active blog) left a comment for me that made me smile and lifted me a little from the depths of despair that I was feeling at the time.
When you think you are happy and your world comes crashing down around you, the smallest nice comment can raise you up a little.
That comment lead to an email pinging in to my inbox and after a couple of days thought, I replied. I didn't expect to get a reply or if I did, expected it to be the only one but to my surprise, each reply I sent gained another in return.
Eventually, after a couple of months of emailing, I took the decision to include my mobile number at the bottom of one email. At this point I really didn't expect to hear more, thinking this fellow blogger would realise he'd got in a bit too deep or put across his point wrongly but another surprise awaited me because the next day, I received a text from a number I did not recognise. Just a nice, friendly and sweet text.
After a week or so, the text lead to a phonecall. Just a short phonecall to say hello and have a quick chat. The general consensus was that I thought he sounded like a Northern Monkey and he thought I sounded like a Privately Educated Home Counties Darling!
There followed further texts and the odd phonecall, not as many as I'd like but the excuse was that he couldn't understand my Southern accent (the cheek!).
Eventually, after almost four months of emailing, texting and calling, a day was decided on for us to finally meet. There was still a lurking doubt in my mind that this apparently sweet and genuinely caring man may actually turn out to be an axe-murdering maniac and so I made it clear that the only place I was willing to meet was in a Tesco cafe.
Nobody can say I don't do things by the book! ;o)
To my surprise, the conversation flowed and there was a mutual attraction. He indeed came out with some rather cringy chat-up lines involving the words 'beautiful' 'stunning' 'exactly what I imagined' but his heart was in the right place.
We had a novel first date of which I'm not too sure I'll go in to more details other than it involved countryside, farm animals and a guadruple-horned goat!
More dates followed, not as often as either of us would like considering his shifts and the distance between us.
For a man to come off nights, sleep for an adequate amount of time and then travel a 350 mile round trip to see you makes you realise that what in the past appeared as effort made by others, pales in comparison to this.
He's been fortunate enough to not only meet my lovely dog but my gorgeous horse as well.
The view on him trying riding, just once, is a firm "No. What if I end up like Christopher Reeve?"
All my protestations that this is highly unlikely fall on extremely deaf ears sadly.
The small gestures that really mean a lot did not wane although thankfully, the cringy chat-up lines did but nobody can say he didn't try!
Almost eleven months later, he decided I was nice enough to move in with and to ask to be stationed nearer to. I think it is safe to say he has shown his commitment.
Serious Grown-Up Stuff has been discussed but neither of us are in any great rush.
For now, we're both happy as we are and I can't really ask for more*.
So, that was the very unexpected but nice surprise blogging has brought me. This is a warning to all, be careful who you reply to on your blog comments because you never know where it might lead!
*He is still a pain in the arse. I could still quite happily tear his head off some days and he always likes to be in the right (even though he very rarely is!). He has made me despair, scream and collapse in giggles but he is only a man.
And no man is perfect.
However, most women are but that is another post for another day ;o)